At the height of the recession and the beginning of the Obama administration, a goal was set to double U.S. exports. Given that only 1-2% of companies in the United States export products or services, it is an important and achievable goal. The National Export Initiative has brought new ideas, resources and people to the table to discuss how to help companies compete globally.
Much progress has been made. However, because of recent fluctuations in the currency markets, this goal is being questioned. While it is right to examine goals both nationally and locally, economic development requires a long-term view. Economic conditions constantly change — goals should not.
Helping our companies expand and compete around the world is necessary to level the playing field and to create jobs at home. Evidence shows that when companies grow internationally, they create high wage jobs and careers in our communities, innovate more as they adjust to fit other markets, and become more stable as they diversify their revenue streams.
Becoming more competitive is always important. Just as an athlete does not lose the benefits of her training if she doesn’t win the race, companies are better off when they prepare for international competition. Even if they choose not to serve international markets, their international competitors may come to our shores. There is simply no downside to helping our companies become more globally competent.
The goal to double U.S. exports was — and is — a priority, and we have to get better if we are to grow our economy. The Columbus Region has accepted this challenge and is working collaboratively to achieve greater competitiveness and an increase in global trade and investment. Currency fluctuations, oil prices and geopolitics will factor into our success over time, but the goal will endure and is well worth pursuing in a smart and aggressive way.
One Columbus Update
- This week, the One Columbus team will host companies evaluating the Columbus Region.
- Next week, our team will travel to Washington, D.C. for the SelectUSA Investment Summit.
- The Columbus Region February 2015 Economic Update is now available. Findings in the report include 124 active projects and a regional unemployment rate of 3.9 percent. Visit columbusregion.com/reports for the full report.